Peppers: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy

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It is a common misconception that the hotter the pepper, the more acidic it is. The hotness of a pepper depends on the amount of capsaicin it contains and not on the level of acidity. All peppers are classified as low-acid foods and have a pH of 4.8 to 6.0 depending on maturity and variety.

When pickling or canning peppers, it is important to follow recipe directions carefully. Peppers preserved improperly at home have caused botulism. Never taste food that appears to be spoiled. If the contents of the jar appear gassy, mushy, moldy, or have a disagreeable odor, discard the food carefully. Boil the jar, lid, and contents for 30 minutes in water. Thoroughly scrub all counters, containers, equipment (including can openers), clothing, and hands that may have come in contact with the food or containers. Do not reuse sponges or towels that may have been used in the cleanup. Place them in a plastic bag and discard it in the trash.

Linda Harris
University of California